II. Whether such a deliverance be possible

That this deliverance of man from the ruins of the fall was possible, may be inferred from a consideration:

1. Of the immense goodness and mercy of God, which would not suffer the whole human race to perish forever.

2. The infinite wisdom of God would naturally lead us to expect that he would be able to devise a way by which he might exhibit his mercy towards the human race, and yet not violate his justice.

3. A consideration of the power of God might lead us to the conclusion that he who could create man out of nothing after his own image, could also raise him up from the ruins of the fall, and deliver him from sin and death. To deny the possibility of the deliverance of man is, therefore, to deny the goodness, wisdom, and power of God. But in God there is neither wisdom, nor goodness, nor power wanting; for "the Lord bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up." "Unto God, the Lord, belong the issues from death." "The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save." (1 Sam. 2:6. Ps. 68:20. Is. 59:1.

But we must enquire, particularly, Whence do we know this deliverance to be possible ? Whether human reason, without the word of God, can arrive at this knowledge? And whether Adam, after his fall, could know or hope for it?

That our deliverance was possible, we now know from the event itself, and from the gospel, or from that revelation which God has been pleased to make. Human reason, however, if left to itself, could know nothing of this deliverance, or of the manner in which it could be effected, although it might probably have conjectured that it was not impossible, (which, by the way, is very doubtful,) in as much as it is not presumable that so glorious a creature as man would be created for eternal misery; or that God would give a law that could never be fulfilled. These two arguments are in themselves forcible, but human reason, on account of its corruption, does not subscribe to them. As, therefore, those who are without the church and ignorant of the gospel, can have no knowledge or hope of deliverance; so Adam, after the fall, without a special promise and revelation, could neither know nor hope for it, by the mere exercise of his reason. When sin was once committed, the mind of man could think of nothing but the severe justice of God, which does not permit sin to pass with impunity, and the unchangeable truth of God, which had declared, "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 3:17.) Adam knew full well that it was necessary to make satisfaction to this justice and truth of God, by the everlasting destruction of the sinner; and hence he could not hope for any deliverance in his case. He might, indeed, probably have supposed that deliverance could be effected if satisfaction could be made in any way, to the justice and truth of God; but he could neither hope for it nor conceive how, or by whom it could be accomplished; yea, the angels themselves could never have devised this method of deliverance, had not God, out of his infinite wisdom and goodness, conceived it and made it known through the gospel.

But some object to what is here said, as follows: If deliverance seemed impossible to Adam, on account of the justice and truth of God, then it must now, also, seem to be impossible; for a violation of the justice and truth of God, cannot take place now any more than formerly. But the escape of the sinner from punishment would be a violation of these attributes of God. To this we reply, that if the sinner would escape punishment without a sufficient satisfaction being made for sin, it would, indeed, be a violation of the justice and truth of God. Had Adam seen a satisfactory solution of this problem, he would have had reason to hope for deliverance, especially if he had considered, at the same time, the nature of God, his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, and the end for which he created man; and that it would not be consistent with the character of God, who is most wise, good, and powerful, to create a being of such noble powers as man, to endure everlasting misery; or that he would give such a law to man, as could never be perfectly obeyed. Yet he could not entertain any certain hope, for, as we have already remarked, before the gospel was published, neither he, nor any other creature, was able to see, or contrive a way of escape from punishment, that would be in harmony with the justice of God; nor could any way of escape ever have been contrived, had not God revealed it through his Son.

This, now, is the substance of what has been said: Man, being fallen, could hope for no deliverance from sin and death, before he heard the joyful promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent; but yet he ought not, neither could he simply despair as though it were wholly impossible. For although he could not conceive any necessary reason from which he might conclude upon his future deliverance, nor understand the way in which satisfaction could be made, yet it does not follow, that if a creature could not discover this, therefore God could not discover it. He ought, therefore, to have looked away from himself to the wisdom, goodness, and power of God, and not have despaired, although every thing seemed to drive him to desperation. Yet if the sound of the gospel had not reached his ear, nothing could have sufficiently comforted him under the temptations to which he was exposed. But after the promise was once made known, and he was brought to understand the method of redemption through Christ, then he could not only hope for deliverance with certainty, but could also resolve all doubts and objections which might arise, among which we may mention the following:

Obj. 1. The justice of God does not permit those who are deserving of eternal condemnation to go unpunished. We have all deserved eternal condemnation. Therefore, our deliverance is impossible, on account of the justice of God.
Ans. Adam saw how the first proposition of this syllogism could be answered, viz: that the justice of God does not absolve and acquit those who are deserving of everlasting condemnation, unless satisfaction he made by a punishment corresponding with the offence.

Obj. 2. The justice and truth of God are both violated when that is not alone which the former requires and the latter threatens. But if everlasting punishment and death be not inflicted upon man, that is not executed which the justice of God requires, and his truth threatens. Therefore, both are violated if man be not punished, which is impossible. Ans. Here again, Adam saw that the minor proposition was true only in case no punishment at all were inflicted, neither upon the sinner himself nor upon some one else who might offer himself as a substitute in the sinner's room and stead. But the promise which God had been pleased to reveal to him, made him acquainted with the fact that Christ, the seed of the woman, would, as man's substitute, bruise the serpent's head.

Obj. 3. That which time unchangeable truth and justice of God demand, is necessary and unchangeable. But the unchangeable truth and justice of God demand that the sinner be cast into everlasting punishment. Therefore the rejection of the sinner is necessary and unchangeable.
Ans. He also saw an answer to the principal proposition of this objection, viz : that that is unchangeable which the justice of God demands absolutely, and not that which it requires conditionally; demanding either the everlasting punishment of the transgressor, or satisfaction through Christ.

Obj. 4. That is impossible winch we have not the power of escaping. We have not the power of escaping sin and death. Therefore it is impossible for us to escape these evils.
Ans. But here again Adam saw that an escape from these evils was impossible only in case God neither knew nor would reveal the way of deliverance, winch was unknown to human reason, and to all created beings, and winch they never could have discovered.

These and similar objections Adam was enabled, through the promise of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, to repel and overcome. We however, who live at the present day, can see, and understand much more clearly, the solution of these difficulties, than Adam could, inasmuch as we know certainly, from the gospel and the event itself, as well as from our own consciousness, that the deliverance of man was not only possible, and would take place at some future time, as Adam himself saw, hut that it is also already acccomplishned by Christ. Hence the deliverance of man is, and always was, possible with God.